YouTube Direct Sees Google Matching Citizen Journalists With News Media Organizations

1 min read

YouTube DirectCitizen journalists have increased both in number and importance in recent years. And Google is now seeking to bring some order to the chaos of how amateur footage is delivered online with YouTube Direct matching citizen journalists with news media organizations.

Citizen Journalists

There was a time when news coverage was strictly professional, delivered by paid reporters, photographers, and cameramen. And then everything changed with digital cameras and video cameras standard on cellphones.

Now, any Tom, Dick, or Harry can be a citizen journalist, reporting the news as it happens in front of them. Twitter and social networks are an important facet of this trend, as is online video and in particular YouTube.

YouTube Direct

Google has this week unveiled YouTube Direct, which is designed to be a meeting place for citizen journalists and the news media organizations increasingly using this amateur footage as the basis, or to embellish, news stories.

YouTube Direct is an API tweak that allows news organizations to set up a virtual assignment desk. Requests for video can be placed on the site, and citizen journalists who want to see their footage reach a bigger audience can respond.

At that point, editors from the news organization can vet the videos sent in and pick the ones most suitable. The Washington Post, ABC News, Huffington Post, Politico, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR are already testing out the product.


This is good news for Google as it helps smooth over the search giant’s relationship with the news media. It’s also good news for the news media organizations as they get access to up-to-date amateur footage which won’t cost them a penny.

However, I can’t quite see what’s in it for the citizen journalists themselves. Apart from the five minutes of fame achieved by their video footage being picked up by major news channel or Web site, there’s little reason to participate in this.

[Via TechNewsWorld]